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Half Empty Plate Dec2011: Gallup

Half Empty Plate Dec2011: Gallup

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Published by Patricia Dillon
Among the biggest differences observed in affordability and accessibility challenges in the study were those in the food hardship analysis. Among those in households with food hardship (answering “yes” to the Gallup question “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”), 18.5 percent reported affordability and accessibility problems, while only 5.7 percent of those in households without food hardship reported such challenges.
The largest disparity came when measured against self-reported health status. Among people reporting poor health status, the prevalence of fruit and vegetable affordability and access challenges was four times that of people reporting excellent health status (20.0 percent vs. 5.0 percent).
Among the biggest differences observed in affordability and accessibility challenges in the study were those in the food hardship analysis. Among those in households with food hardship (answering “yes” to the Gallup question “Have there been times in the past twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”), 18.5 percent reported affordability and accessibility problems, while only 5.7 percent of those in households without food hardship reported such challenges.
The largest disparity came when measured against self-reported health status. Among people reporting poor health status, the prevalence of fruit and vegetable affordability and access challenges was four times that of people reporting excellent health status (20.0 percent vs. 5.0 percent).

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Patricia Dillon on Jan 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/04/2012

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 A Half-Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America | Page 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
In this report, FRAC looks at the results of a Gallup survey of over one million Americans – part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index project – to:1)
 
Measure
reports at the national, regional, state, MetropolitanStatistical Area (MSA), and Congressional District levels of lack of access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables
, and2)
 
Examine whether lack of access relates to individuals’ reports of ill health,obesity, stress, and food hardship as well as income and race/ethnicity. Among all households across the years 2008-2010, 8.2 percent of Gallup respondentsreported that it was “not easy to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.” The rateof the affordability and access challenge among households with children was slightlyhigher: 9.0 percent.Confirming the results of a number of other studies, Hispanics and Blacks in theGallup survey reported considerably higher rates of difficulty in accessing affordablefresh fruits and vegetables, compared to Whites and Asians.Similarly, fresh fruit and vegetable affordability and access challenges were greaterfor households with lower incomes. Those with annual household income less than$24,000 reported problems 2½ times as frequently than those with incomes between$60,000 and $89,999 (13.8 percent vs. 5.7 percent).
 
 Among the biggest differences observed in affordability and accessibility challenges inthe study were those in the food hardship analysis. Among those in households withfood hardship (answering “yes” to the Gallup question “Have there been times in thepast twelve months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you oryour family needed?”), 18.5 percent reported affordability and accessibility problems,while only 5.7 percent of those in households without food hardship reported suchchallenges.The largest disparity came when measured against self-reported health status. Among people reporting poor health status, the prevalence of fruit and vegetableaffordability and access challenges was four times that of people reporting excellenthealth status (20.0 percent vs. 5.0 percent).There was a substantial gap in reported fruit and vegetable affordability andaccessibility problems between those who reported having feelings of stress theprevious day (12.2 percent) and those who did not have such feelings of stress (5.6percent).Those classified as normal weight and overweight reported lower rates of difficultywith access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables (7.8 percent and 7.4 percent,respectively) than those who were obese (9.6 percent).
 
 A Half-Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America | Page 2
Because the Gallup sample size is so large, it was possible to get precise data not just at the national level, but at the regional, state, Metropolitan Statistical Area(MSA) and Congressional District levels.The Mountain Plains USDA region was the hardest hit (10 percent), by a considerablemargin, while the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions had the lowest rates (7.3 percentand 7.8 percent, respectively).Seventeen states had at least one in ten households (10 percent or more) answerthat it was difficult to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Among householdswith children, 21 states had a rate of 10 percent or higher.Difficulty accessing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables was a problem in virtuallyevery MSA. In only two MSAs was the rate below 5 percent. Overall there were 10MSAs with rates of at least 9 percent (25 MSAs had rates of at least 9 percent forhouseholds with children). Most of the MSAs with the 20 worst rates were in theSoutheast, Southwest, and West regions.For 95 Congressional Districts, at least one in ten people (10 percent or more)reported that it was not easy to get affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Amonghouseholds with children, the rates were worse: 133 Congressional Districts had ratesof at least 10 percent, and 22 had rates of at least 15 percent. As discussed in the recommendations section of this report, access and affordabilityare household economic insecurity problems – the rates of affordability and accessproblems are considerably worse among households with low incomes and inhouseholds experiencing food hardship. While other factors – the geography of thenation’s growing areas, the absence of full service grocery stores in urban and rural “food deserts” – are also barriers, the remedies to the problems described in thisreport have to centrally include supporting families’ ability to purchase healthier food,such as steps to improve SNAP benefit levels, to increase the number of peoplereceiving SNAP and WIC, and otherwise support people’s ability to afford and obtainreasonably priced, healthy food.

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